The 5 Best Beaches in North Carolina


With over 300 miles of coastline, it’s no surprise that North Carolina is home to some of the country’s most gorgeous stretches of sand. Discover the five best beaches in North Carolina, whether you want to surf, chill out, or spot wildlife.

Wrightsville Beach

One of the most popular stretches of sand in North Carolina, Wrightsville Beach also one of the most accessible beaches in the state thanks to its location near Wilmington. Although this is a fantastic spot for the whole family, it’s especially great for surfers and fans of standup paddleboarding. Time your visit right and you could even join or watch one of the many surfing and standup paddleboarding competitions here. If you want to keep the action going well into the evening, you’ll find plenty of nightlife around Wrightsville Beach, too.

Kure Beach

If you’re looking for a little history with your beach time, head to Kure Beach. This sunny spot is home to one of the Atlantic Coast’s oldest fishing piers, which is still a great spot to watch the sunrise in the morning and the waves crash all day long. Nearby, explore Fort Fisher State Historic Site where the Civil War’s biggest and most dramatic land and sea battle happened. Mark your calendar for the Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival, which brings amazing food and great music to Kure Beach every fall.

Carolina Beach

For great surfing, an action-packed boardwalk, and plenty of secluded spots to chill out, don’t miss Carolina Beach. Not only does Carolina Beach have several great surfing and swimming spots, but it’s also a great place to explore the natural beauty of the Cape Fear River at Carolina Beach State Park. Check out HotelPlanner for affordable Carolina Beach hotels so you can stay near the area’s best cafés and bars. If you’re planning to rock out at the Carolina Beach Music Festival, be sure to book your room well in advance.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

To experience some of North Carolina’s most impressive natural beauty, head north to Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Located in the heart of the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras is home to one of the state’s most storied lighthouses, the coolest wildlife, and the most exhilarating outdoor adventures. Grab a canoe or kayak and glide through Pamlico Sound or go kiteboarding and windsurfing around Hatteras Island. You can rent equipment for just about any watersport in the area, so don’t worry if you left yours at home.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

On the southern end of the Outer Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore is an incredible place to plan a beach getaway. This barrier island only accessible by boat, but once you arrive, you can go swimming and shelling, look for wild horses, spot shorebirds, go kayaking and canoeing, or plan a fishing trip. Once you arrive back on dry land, stay on nearby Harkers Island until the sun sets and do a little stargazing in this beautiful spot.

No matter what type of beach calls your name, you’ll find it in North Carolina. Pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and surfboard, and start planning your next beach getaway.

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